Current Release: Age Of Voodoo
Describe your current release in two sentences?
The fifth book in my Pantheon series, Age Of Voodoo is a military-SF adventure with horror overtones and proper, old-school, Caribbean-voodoo zombies. A team of Navy SEALs, aided by a retired British wetwork specialist and a voodoo priestess, infiltrate a subterran research facility on a remote tropical island to battle the horrifying results of a fusion of black magic and science-gone-bad.
What have you had to give up to pursue your writing career?
Sociable hours, a steady wage, paid holidays, my sanity... But apart from that, nothing much. I've been a professional author since leaving university. I wrote and sold my first novel within three months of graduating, and although in the early days I relied on odd jobs to help make ends meet, I've been making a proper living from writing for nearly two decades now.
What are you working on?
I've just completed a Sherlock Holmes novel for Titan Books, pitting the great detective against a steampunk superhero vigilante. That's called The Stuff Of Nightmares and is out this summer. I'm just about to embark on the third of three novellas which form part of my Pantheon series. It's called Age Of Gaia, and it's coming out as an ebook first but will appear, with the other two, Age Of Anansi and Age Of Satan, in a physical compendium edition this autumn (title: Age Of Godpunk).
What is your ultimate writing goal?
I would like to create the perfect SF thriller, one that works both as a page-turning, twist-packed adventure novel and as a piece of valid, interesting speculative fiction, one that would appeal equally to a mainstream readership and hardcore SF fans. I feel that I keep getting nearer that goal with each book I write.
Do you have a comfort food? What is it?
I'd say chocolate, but I've more or less given up on it except on special occasions because I'm not getting any younger and therefore not getting any thinner. A bag of assorted toffees is also my Kryptonite. And decaffeinated cappuccinos.
Where is your favorite place to write?
In my office, on my couch, with my cat Ozzy loitering somewhere nearby trying to look helpful. I need physical comfort and routine in order to write, and also peace and quiet. I'm not one of those authors who can hang out in Starbucks with Macbook on lap and iPad earbuds installed in ears. I wish I were, as it's altogether much cooler than sitting at home with a pad of paper and a pen.
What career fields have you worked in?
I've been an illustrator, doing T-shirts and greetings cards. I've set cryptic crosswords for the Independent newspaper and written a column on how to solve crosswords for a puzzle magazine. I am now a prolific reviewer of fiction and comics, working mainly for the Financial Times and Comic Heroes. I've even composed music (although not for money, so I don't know if that counts as a career field).
What are your plans for the next year? Any books you are looking forward to?
If you mean books by others, I'm curious to see what King does with Dr Sleep, his sequel to The Shining. Also Warren Fahy's Pandemonium, a sequel to Fragment, which I loved. And I hear that Neil Gaiman is writing a new Sandman prequel series, which is cool. But if you mean my own books, well, I always look forward to the next one -- usually while I'm in the middle of writing the current one.
How was your road to publication?
Enviably smooth, at least to begin with. My first novel was accepted for publication by the first editor who looked at it, James Hale at Macmillan. Coming up with novel two was somewhat harder, classic sophomore syndrome, but I got round that problem by co-writing it (Escardy Gap) with my pal Peter Crowther. I almost completely avoided "multiple rejection letter" route, although there is one complete early novel which I canned because it just wasn't good enough (and it will never, ever see the light of day, because I don't even have a copy of the manuscript any more).
If you could live in a world created by an author, which book / world would you jump into?
I'd happily live in the Marvel Universe. It would be a place of daily wonders and excitement. Of course, it would also be a place where the apocalypse looms almost on a monthly basis, so there'd be a certain amount of anxiety there, but one could be pretty sure that the superheroes will save us every time. I'd steer clear of New York, however. The super-crime rates in that city are appalling, and some villain or other is usually blowing part of it up.
I'm hugely grateful to all the readers who've made my Pantheon series a bestselling success, and I hope to keep entertaining them for years to come. I'd also like to thank Solaris, my publishers, who are a terrific bunch -- enthusiastic, energetic, and eager to make the effort.